[MARMAM] Vessel speed and whale strikes

Greg Silber - NOAA Federal greg.silber at noaa.gov
Fri Jun 14 11:34:16 PDT 2013

This is to note that the paper “Vessel speed restrictions reduce risk of
collision-related mortality for North Atlantic right whales” is available


PDF available from Greg Silber (Greg.Silber at noaa.gov).

Vessel speed restrictions reduce risk of collision-related mortality for
North Atlantic right whales

P. B. Conn 1, <http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/ES13-00004.1#aff1>and
G. K. Silber
2 <http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/ES13-00004.1#aff2>

1National Marine Mammal Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Fisheries Science
Center, 7600 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle, Washington 98115-6349 USA

2National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, Office of Protected Resources, 1315 East-West Highway,
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 USA
Collisions with vessels are a serious threat to a number of endangered
large whale species, the North Atlantic right whale (*Eubalaena glacialis*)
in particular. In late 2008, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration issued mandatory time-area vessel speed restrictions along
the U.S. eastern seaboard in an effort to mediate collision-related
mortality of right whales. All vessels 65 feet and greater in length are
restricted to speeds of 10 knots or less during seasonally implemented
regulatory periods. We modeled mortality risk of North Atlantic right whale
when the vessel restrictions were and were not in effect, including (1)
estimation of the probability of lethal injury given a ship strike as a
function of vessel speed, (2) estimation of the effect of transit speed on
the instantaneous rate of ship strikes, and (3) a consideration of total
risk reduction. Logistic regression and Bayesian probit analyses indicated
a significant positive relationship between ship speed and the probability
of a lethal injury. We found that speeds of vessels that struck whales were
consistently greater than typical vessel speeds for each vessel type and
regulatory period studied; a use-availability model fit to these data
provided strong evidence for a linear effect of transit speed on strike
rates. Overall, we estimated that vessel speed restrictions reduced total
ship strike mortality risk levels by 80–90% with levels that were closer to
90% in the latter two of the four active vessel speed restriction periods
studied. To our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive assessment to
date of the utility of vessel speed restrictions in reducing the threat of
vessel collisions to large whales. Our findings indicate that vessel speed
limits are a powerful tool for reducing anthropogenic mortality risk for
North Atlantic right whales.

Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/ES13-00004.1
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